Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:33 pm Post subject: June '74: Overrated?
There's an interesting thread going on the Archive forum now where various people are bashing '77 as an overrated, charmless year.
So I thought it might be amusing to pick one of the Dead's peak periods that everyone loves (I think?), and see if anyone had any complaints about it...
So, June '74. Or heck, all of summer '74, if you like. Are there weak spots, anything lacking in the music this year?
Personally, I find it rather distressing in the '73/74 period when the Dead open a show with a full hour or more of country & boogie tunes, before any jam appears. Makes those '80s warmup first sets seem rather brief, in more ways than one...
Of course, lovers of laid-back country-style Dead have nothing to complain about there.
I also find shows of this time rather lacking in energy compared to shows of just a couple years earlier, '71/72. Put any of the 'rockers' on from a '74 show and then a '72 show, and the difference will jump right out at you.
Some folks are also less than happy with the recorded Wall of Sound sound - the odd-sounding vocals, the rather pinched & narrow guitar tones the band favored in '74. I'm not too bothered by these things though; once the jamming starts I forget all about the sound....
Joined: 23 Jun 2008 Posts: 10252 Location: Davy Jones' Locker
Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:07 pm Post subject:
I love it!
So, is June 74 overrated... well, summer is... but June is pretty damn tight, to be honest.
However, the show which, for me, has the best jam they ever did (6/28/74), also features a very lackluster, long 1st set of all the same songs they would play almost every time out...
There are problems with even the vaunted June 74, but they are easily overcome by the greatness of the jams.
I do think 6/18/74's "meat" portion is HIGHLY overrated, and I believe I have already been officially tarred and feathered for saying that in the past so now I can say it in perpetuity without fear of backlash... right?
It just doesn't do that much for me.
Well, I know there are plenty here who don't like the extra long and "mellow" 72-74 first sets, but I don't think it comes into play here since that's not what people like about June 74. What people highly rate and/or overrate about June 74 is the quality of the jamming -- my guess is that big supporters of the month already get that the first sets are all kind of slow to start because of (I presume) various tech/sound glitches that were being ironed out, or that the tapes don't sound as rich for a number of non-musical reasons, or that the vocals sound thin because of the weird mic set-up they were using. It seems to me that criticizing that is like pointing out that they didn't play any Dark Stars or 30 minute Other Ones when discussing if 1977 is overrated or not -- or if someone said, "1968 is totally overrated -- they only play like 10 songs and the vocals are pretty weak!", he would kind of be missing the point, right?
At least that's how I think of it. So, with that in mind, I say NO, June 74 is not overrated at all. I can't remember much about 6/20 or 6/22, but I can say that every show that month has a jam that absolutely floors me, plus enough unique, interesting moments to keep me coming back. I personally enjoy the 6/18 jam a lot, though not as much as 6/28 or 6/26; 6/16 is probably the strongest show top-to-bottom; 6/8 and 6/30 are comparatively overlooked, but have some mindblowing moments: the 6/8 Playin>WR>Playin is unbelievable, and the Eyes is absolutely sublime, and 6/30 has a less mind-altering but still incredible Playin>UJB>Playin and a very creative Truckin>jam>Eyes>jam. 6/23 is kind of love-it-or-hate-it, but I think it grooves perfectly all the way through. Plus you have a number of amazing China>Riders (6/16 and 6/26 being the biggies), and I think Keith was sounding fantastic on rhodes this month on a lot of tunes.
I do think it's best long run of the year. May has its moments, but I don't think they stack up as a group as powerfully as June. To my ears, the rest of the summer shows start sounding kind of "tired" -- not tired in a lack-of-energy sense, but edgy in a way that I don't necessarily dislike, but that doesn't always work for me. This may be colored by all I've read about how over-exhausted and over-coked they were by the end of the year, but a lot of the jams in July and August have a spikier, more aggressive sound that isn't as appealing to me as June.
I don't think it's "better" than Sept 72 or Nov 73 or whatever, but overrated? No way.
I had to take a few days to mull this over. You are right about the first sets but if you wade through them, there are some really solid moments. I disagree with the hate on Big River. I always give these a listen as they generally shred! I also like the China>Riders from this era. They definately have a little something to them that is different than other years. I think the lack of the first set closing Playin's also hurts these first sets a bit as we don't get a nice long jammy tune to wet our appettites. But there are a few good segments in the first sets.
6/26...WRS> Let It Grow>ROSES
As far as the meat of these shows....There is plenty of heapin helpings of justice served in most every show. Enough to make this a pretty esssential tour for the boys.
No it is not overrated. Also I think the June (and summer in general) 1st sets are
better than 73 because they are not quite as long, and played with more gusto.
The 1st set of 6/23/74 is sick. Cumberland, To Lay Me Down, Let It Rock, WRS>China Doll...
June and July-August 74 is prime GD IMO.
_________________ We used to play for acid, now we play for Clive.
Joined: 03 Mar 2010 Posts: 286 Location: Rhode Island
Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:36 pm Post subject: No...not overrated.
So this is how I'm feeling it. I love the mellowness of the era. I love the china/riders as well as the eyes works, and the scarlets. As for the second part of the statement/question I totally disagree that 77 is overrated. I think when people think of 77 they automatically think of 5/8/77. Ok first set, but the second set just fucking rocks. The problem is that show overshadows other awesome shows from 77. For example I'm listening to 5/9/77 right now and I'm jamming out. Also people think of 77 and it overshadows some killer shows from 76 and 78.
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